Lions reduce kicker competition to two with decision to waive James Turner

The Lions will now have two kickers competing for the job in training camp after waiving undrafted rookie James Turner.

With their signing of Jake Bates able to be official on Tuesday, it seemed possible the Detroit Lions would have a three-man competition at kicker in training camp. In their announcement to make the signing of Bates official, the Lions announced undrafted rookie kicker James Turner has been waived.

Turner spent his final college season at Michigan, going 65-for-66 on extra points and 18-for-21 on field goals (3-for-4 from 50-plus yards) for the national champion Wolverines. The Lions signed him after the draft, under the auspice of adding competition for Michael Badgley.

Reports from OTAs and minicamp suggested Turner had gained a bit of an edge on the veteran Badgley looking toward training camp, assuming there would be a genuine competition for the job. Signing Bates, seemingly at first, only added what should've been another equal competitor to win the job.

The Lions continue to have a blind spot at kicker

Up to a point, and depending on where a team is in its trajectory, who the kicker is fairly unimportant. But when you're a good team and not having a legit option from certain field goal distances possibly impacts strategic decisions in big games, it's a different thing.

As Jeremy Reisman of Pride of Detroit reminded us, the Lions had a similar situation with kickers last year.

Riley Patterson was re-acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars in May of 2023, as he joined Badgley and John Parker Romo on the roster. Badgley was the odd-man out then, as the Lions went with an established option and a proverbial wild card to compete for the job. Badgley was eventually brought back on the practice squad, and he took the job back from Patterson during last season.

Carrying three kickers into training camp would have been a little odd, even with a 90-man roster. Given the similarities between Bates and Turner (basically no NFL experience), Turner was likely to be the first to go from the Lions' kicking competition.

The kicker carousel the Lions have had from the start of this regime, now entering its fourth season, continues. Badgley is begging to be replaced, but they just won't go all the way to do it.


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